Kidnapping of two American seventy year olds Gary Arnold found guilty

Kidnapping of two American seventy-year-olds | Gary Arnold found guilty on all charges –

After twelve days of deliberation, the jury in the trial of Gary Arnold, who is accused of kidnapping Sandra and James Helm in the United States for ransom, found him guilty of conspiracy, kidnapping Sandra and James Helm and racketeering.

Posted 3:09pm Updated 3:45pm


Sandra and James Helm were abducted by several people from their home in Moira, New York, late in the evening of September 27, 2020 and freed two days later by United States Security Quebec personnel at a chalet in Magog, Estrie. Authorities had arrived just before they left the area as the kidnappers planned to relocate them. The couple had spent the whole night in the chalet’s basement.

The story caused a stir in Quebec and the United States. The suspects’ aim was to extort ransom after the American couple’s grandson was arrested and the cocaine he was transporting was seized days earlier as part of a United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation in Vermont).

According to the prosecution’s theory, Gary Arnold, a farmer by trade, was one of those responsible for the kidnapping, but Arnold testified at his trial, stating that he was involved in the affair under duress and had not participated in the kidnapping or restraint of the Helms.

During his trial, Arnold denied any knowledge of the conspiracy. Instead, he testified before a jury that he had been threatened by a man named “Big” about performing various duties in September 2020. The man thus claimed to have never met the victims of the kidnapping. In addition, his attorney, John T. Pepper, insisted in his closing arguments that Arnold feared for his family’s safety and was carrying out orders under threat. He submitted to the jury that the Crown had failed to prove his client knew about the kidnapping.

He also said he had been asked to find a catheter for a health problem Ms Helm was suffering from and that was why he went to Suroît hospital in the middle of the night. The jury did not believe his testimony.

“Quick, hurry up”

For her part, 73-year-old Sandra Helm said at a hearing that the kidnappers had told her at the time that her grandson had “done something bad”. “Quick, hurry up. If you take too long, you’ll regret it,” he was told, and incidentally supported, that “the mafia is out there, they’re waiting for you.” “I had no idea where we were going. I couldn’t see anything,” she said, adding that she was told her grandson had “stolen $3.5 million worth of drugs.”

I didn’t think we would return home. I couldn’t believe they would just let us go. We had seen their faces.

Excerpt from the testimony of Sandra Helms

The trial was presided over by Judge Michel Pennou of the Superior Court. He pointed out that the jury must have been tired after twelve days and thanked them for their service to society.

Gary Arnold was represented by Me John T. Pepper and the prosecution was led by Me Édith Lafontaine, Me Kim Chaïken and Me Justine Blair of the DPCP’s Bureau of Serious Crime and Special Affairs.

In all, Gary Arnold faced seven counts. Among them: charges of kidnapping, coercive detention, extortion and conspiracy. The pleadings for the verdict were postponed to March 6 because of the form.

With Mayssa Ferah, La Presse

To reach Daniel Renaud, dial 514.285-7000, extension 4918, write to [email protected] or write to the La Presse mailing address.